2019 Sundance Docs in Focus: MIKE WALLACE IS HERE

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by CBS News

MIKE WALLACE IS HERE
Avi Belkin explores the evolution of television journalism through the life and work of the legendary 60 MINUTES correspondent.

Festival Section:
US Documentary Competition

Sundance Program Description:

Deemed the “enemy of the people” by our current president, journalism in America is on the chopping block. Lies, fake news, propaganda, and verbal subterfuge threaten to cripple our First Amendment. This fascinating exposé of 60 MINUTES’ fearsome newsman Mike Wallace turns his hard-hitting, no-holds-barred journalistic style loose on Wallace himself, who is considered by many to be the inventor of the form. Mike Wallace unflinchingly interrogated the biggest figures of the 20th century. During 50 years on the air, his aggressive reporting style and showmanship redefined what America has come to expect from broadcasters.

As riveting as it is topical, MIKE WALLACE IS HERE mirrors its subject’s scrutinous gaze to better understand how we arrived at the precarious media tipping point menacing our democracy today. Exhuming decades of never-before-seen footage from the 60 MINUTES vault, filmmaker Avi Belkin crafts an all-archival portrait that explores what drove and plagued this restless reporter, whose storied career and troubled personal life were inherently entwined with the evolution of broadcast journalism itself.

Some Background:
Director/Producer:

  • Avi Belkin

    This is Israeli filmmaker Belkin’s sophomore documentary feature. His upcoming projects include NO ONE SAW A THING, a true crime docuseries from Blumhouse Television about an unsolved murder in America’s heartland in the early 1980s, for SundanceTV.

Producers:

  • Rafael Marmor
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE GREEN PRINCE (2014)

    Marmor is the founder of Delirio Films, where he produced SXSW audience award winners BECOMING BOND and THE SHORT GAME and Tribeca jury winner BOMBAY BEACH. He also associate produced Sundance narrative feature alumni DEATH IN LOVE. Marmor produced fellow 2019 Sundance title ASK DR RUTH, in Documentary Premieres, and executive produced US Dramatic Competition title HONEY BOY.

  • John Battsek
    Recent past Sundance docs:

    THE KING (2018)
    STUDIO 54 (2018)
    WESTWOOD: PUNK, ICON, ACTIVIST (2018)
    LEGION OF BROTHERS (2017)
    WE ARE X (2016)

    Battsek is the founder and managing director of Passion Pictures – responsible for the Oscar-winning ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER and SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN (2012) – and has premiered titles at the past fourteen consecutive editions of Sundance.

  • Peggy Drexler

    Peggy Drexler PhD is a research psychologist and author focusing on sex and gender. As an investor in Impact Partners, she contributed to the funding of Sundance alums WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? and OF FATHERS AND SONS. Drexler also executive produced ASK DR RUTH.

  • Christopher Leggett

    Leggett is a partner in Delirio Films. He also produced ASK DR RUTH and HONEY BOY.

Co-Producer:

  • Zoë Morrison

    Delirio Films’ Morrison is also a co-producer of ASK DR RUTH.

Associate Producer:

  • Natalie Goldberg

    This marks the first feature producing and first Sundance credit for Delirio Films’ Goldberg following short and series projects.

Coordinating Producer:

  • Sasha Reuther

    This is also Reuther’s first project at Sundance. He has an extensive background producing for CBS News/60 MINUTES.

Executive Producer:

  • Angus Wall
    Past Sundance docs:

    ICARUS (2017)
    SKY LADDER: THE ART OF CAI GUO-QIANG (2016)

    Rock Paper Scissors’ Wall is a two-time Academy Award winner in editing for THE SOCIAL NETWORK and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. He previously cut two narrative Sundance alumni projects, both by director Mike Mills: THUMBSUCKER and ARCHITECTURE OF REASSURANCE.

Editor:

Associate Editor:

  • Kevin Otte

    This is Otte’s first Sundance credit.

Why You Should Watch:
Drawing from a lifetime of television footage and interviews, Belkin has cleverly and artfully constructed a dual portrait of Wallace and of his profession. In the process, he offers a thought-provoking exploration of the impact of the controversial journalist’s aggressive, take-no-prisoners approach on broadcast journalism – and its audience – today.

More Info:
For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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